5 Harmful Workplace Habits To Leave Behind In 2023

It takes a month to form a new habit, and years to keep repeating it until it becomes muscle memory. These habits influence our lives and inform our decisions. They help form our reactions to people and have an impact on things like worldviews and work ethics. But what if our habits are actively keeping us from being the best versions of ourselves?

These five work habits are easy to overlook, and even easier to keep doing. Read on to see which ones you need to leave behind before the new year rolls in (and why they hurt you more than they help)!


One of the biggest factors holding people back from living their ideal careers is putting too much stock in people’s reactions to them. This leads to constantly catering to the needs of others at the expense of their comfort and boundaries while holding people to imaginary projections. People-pleasing is a negative habit, and it’s especially harmful in the workplace.

According to the Berkeley Well-Being Institute, the difference between people-pleasing and simply helping out is that the former is more concerned with an expected outcome, while the latter doesn’t. People-pleasers tend to cultivate a “nice guy” attitude, where they feel entitled to favors just because they’re “nice.”

It’s best to leave people-pleasing behind for the new year because this affects your reputation and morale at the workplace. If you want your boss to see you for who you genuinely are and the value you bring, ditch this habit!

Saying “Yes” When You Want To Say “No”

Whether it’s covering for a friend’s shift or taking on an extra workload over the weekend, saying that two-letter word can feel like betraying someone’s trust and confidence in you. But being a constant yes-man can make things more stressful for you and your team.

The habit of saying “yes” when you mean “no” leads to you overstepping your boundaries and self-respect. Even if you feel like you’re doing others a service, this habit perpetuates over-extending yourself and complacency with the ones you service. Constantly saying yes can also lead to severe burnout! Remember: no one can pour from an empty cup, and working towards burnout is like taking a hammer to porcelain!

Gossiping To Fit In

Gossip is easy to weave into meaningless chatter over lunch or coffee. But what makes this habit especially damaging is when spreading rumors becomes a constant part of your interactions at work. Talking to colleagues gets tinged with a skewed bias, which can compromise trust and your ability to work well with certain people in your team.

Gossiping to fit in is detrimental and can ruin future workplace relationships, especially if you’re new. And when it reaches the wrong people, it can also get you fired! The thing about talking about people behind their backs is that they will end up hearing about it, too. Airing out negativity about one colleague isn’t worth losing your job and reputation over, so it’s best to keep things to yourself.

Overworking Yourself

Overworking yourself, no matter how much social media and the “grind” culture glorifies it, is not advisable. A study published by Harvard Medical School says that people who work up to 50-55 hours a week are more prone to heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, and abdominal diseases. Feeling anxious about going home early or not having a deadline is a sign that your body’s stress levels are abnormally high all the time that it has become normalized.

Aside from health factors, overworking yourself also leads to compromised quality of work. When you aren’t feeling 100% fit to work, chances are your output won’t be 100% ready to submit, either. Risking your health to meet a deadline just isn’t worth it, so leave that habit behind in 2023.

Tolerating a Bad Boss

Bad bosses can range from petty, mean, and jealous, to downright abusive. Tolerating their behavior can make others think doing so is okay, which opens up a whole cycle of workplace bullying and an unhealthy working environment. It robs you of your power and makes you doubt your self-worth.

The first step is to offer upward feedback in a professional and respectful manner to make sure you and your manager are on the same page. But if the behavior continues with no signs of improvement, then it’s often best to find another team that is a better fit for you. 

Sticking it out as long as possible to keep a job might seem like the only option on the table, but you have to remember: you are skilled and valuable. Get your job search toolkit sorted, and find another company that you know will treat you better. Your mental health is worth more than any paycheck.

Now that you know what to leave behind in 2023, it’s up to you to take action! Habits can be hard to grow out of, but with practice, consistency, and extra patience with yourself, it’s doable. Rooting for you in the new year!

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